Real Life Story
How It’s Like To be in A Relationship With a 14-Year Age Gap
Despite society’s expectations, this couple says their large age gap has made their relationship stronger.
Jerome Tupil, 45, and Thea Tupil, 31, have been together for seven years and married for five. Their 14-year age difference was not an issue when they started dating, but the couple said that, at first, it was difficult to talk about their relationship with other people.
“We grew up in a society where couples are usually in the same age bracket, so it was hard to open up or explain to our relatives and friends,” the Filipino couple, who’s now based in California, said.
Despite society’s expectations, however, Jerome and Thea said that their age difference ultimately became the strength of their relationship.
“For me, the best thing about having an older partner is that I had a new perspective in life. Being an adult is very challenging but can also be fun. [Jerome] taught me how to be independent, especially when we moved to the U.S., and there I saw a mature version of myself that I didn’t know I could be,” Thea said.
Meanwhile, Jerome said that being with someone younger teaches him to reconnect with his youthful side and take it easy sometimes.
“The best thing about being in an age-gap relationship is that, being the older person, my partner taught me and showed me my younger side again. [Me] being a serious person, Thea had brought out my youthfulness. She had taught me to not be serious most of the time and have fun,” he said.
The two agree, however, that being in a relationship with a large age gap still comes with challenges, like constantly having to adjust to each other’s ways of seeing and doing things.
“The most challenging thing about it, though, is that the adjustment never ends. We have different ways on how we deal or cope up with things, and that causes our arguments most of the time,” Thea said.
The couple has learned to meet each other halfway to make their relationship even stronger, for themselves and for their 4-year-old son Luigi.
Below, Jerome and Thea tell us important lessons they’ve learned from their relationship through the years, and how their 14-year age gap taught them about patience, respect, and empathy.
Relationships with large age gaps require a lot of patience
Since we have different opinions and points of view in life, we need to continuously adjust for each other. The good thing about it, though, is that we get to learn each other’s point of view.
For example, we have different styles on how we do errands. He likes doing it early in the morning and accomplishing everything quickly by himself while I want to do it in a relaxing way, strolling together and enjoying while doing errands.
Instead of arguing, I would always make a list of our agenda for the day so that we can leave a little later, accomplish everything, and have fun.
When it comes to designing our house, he would usually pick dark colors and basic designs. I would pick lighter ones and would explore different designs. At first it was hard because he wouldn’t approve of my preferences, but eventually he liked it.
- Jerome and Thea
The older partner isn’t always right
Just because my husband is older, doesn’t mean he’s always right. He would always ask for my opinion on things, listen to what I’ll say, and respect my decisions. - Thea
Relationships with large age gaps can be a lot of fun
Being with the right person in a relationship with a large age gap is actually fun. I’m the serious one so I see a different side of me.
We both love movies. But since we have a big age gap, our preferences are different. I like action and she likes romantic comedies. We both had to compromise where I needed to watch romcom movies with her and she watched those action filled movies with me. Now we get to enjoy doing movie dates watching either action or romcom movies. And now, we even get to enjoy movie dates with our son. Win-win! - Jerome
Sometimes, age is not just a number, but that’s OK
When my husband was about to enter college, I was just about to start preschool. That 14-year gap is pretty big. For example, I’ve never heard about some of the music, movies, or toys that defined his childhood. But that gap helped us connect and understand each other more. It became a bridge to both of our worlds. - Thea
Relationships with large age gaps teach partners empathy
It’s really important for us to be empathic when helping each other through a problem. Being the anxious person, I worry and stress out on a lot of petty things. So one of the things I love most about my husband is that he is very supportive. He knows what to say to help me work through those feelings no matter how petty they are. The same goes for me when supporting him. There are certain things that don’t bother me but are really bothering him, so I have to put myself in his shoes and think about how it’s affecting him. - Thea
Jerome and Thea learned these lessons from their years together, starting a family. Their advice: Enjoy the journey together.
“Yes, there will be some criticisms. Everyone has an opinion, but don’t let it affect your relationship. Continue to do what makes both of you happy,” they said.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Source: Romano Santos, VICE
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